Intel Broadwell Core M, possibility for new Macbook Air?

Intel has started shipping some of its ultra low-power Broadwell chips, which are known as Core M, just a few months ago. The main difference between these chips and previous versions is that they run with just 4.5 watts of power, which makes them suitable for devices that don’t use a fan, like tablets and some PCs.


Even though new Broadwell processors made for the majority of Macs aren’t expected to ship until the middle of 2015, the new Core M processors might be included inside a rumored new edition of the MacBook Air, which is expected to be fanless and feature a 12-inch display. It is also expected that the new edition of Apple’s popular notebook could have a Retina display, as well as a redesigned trackpad that is completely buttonless.

Intel has released a first batch of Core M Broadwell chips in September 2014, known as model numbers 5Y10/5Y10a, which can run at a base frequency of 800 MHz with a maximum turbo speed of 2 GHz. There is also a slightly more powerful version of the Core M chip, model 5Y70, which has a base frequency of 1.1 GHz and a max turbo speed of 2.6 GHz. What feeds the rumors that Core M chips will be included in the new MacBook Air is that Intel has added some other processors to its Core M family without much publicity. These new chips were initially scheduled to be released by Intel in 2015, but a look at the Intel chip database shows that they have already been launched in the last quarter of 2014.

These new processors may have been tested by Apple for the upcoming 12-inch MacBook Air. The lineup consists of a high-end 5Y71 chip that can run at 1.2 GHz with a maximum turbo of 2.9 GHz, in addition to a lower-end 5Y10c variant, plus two mid-range chips, the 5Y51 with a 1.1 GHz frequency and 2.6 GHz max turbo and the 5Y31, which has a 900 GHz frequency and a 2.4 GHz max turbo. What sets these chips apart from the previous versions launched by Intel is that they have higher base GPU frequencies, starting at 300 MHz, with up to a 900 MHz turbo frequency.

There is still no official information regarding the launch of the 12-inch MacBook Air. Some rumors that have been circulating in the technology news world seem to point to a launch that would likely happen in mid-2015. The expected release data has changed several times as Apple has been continuing its development. But now that Intel has moved ahead with the launch of additional Broadwell Core M chips, the possibility remains that Apple may be releasing a new and thinner version of the MacBook Air earlier in 2015.

James Vrionis

James Vrionis knows Technology and is Based in the Palm Desert Area. Contact him at

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